Photo: Bill Neiman
Scroll to the bottom of this page for the latest news updates regarding the pipeline.
Communities who have passed resolutions against the pipeline: Buda, Kyle, San Marcos, Wimberley, Woodcreek, Hays County, Gillespie County, Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, Hill Country Underground Water Conservation District.
Permian Highway Pipeline to cut through Hill Country
In September, Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline LLC and partners announced a new pipeline project that will connect the natural gas production of the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast. The $2 billion project will create a 42-inch pipeline that travels 430 miles across the state, including through the heart of the Texas Hill Country.
The Permian Highway Pipeline would include the purchase from landowners of a 50-foot easement, plus an additional 25-50 feet of work easements, that would preclude certain activities (e.g. building and planting long-rooted trees). Projected to start construction in Fall 2019, Kinder Morgan has already started to contact landowners. The proposed route would cross multiple Hill Country counties, including Kimble, Gillespie, Blanco, and Hays Counties.
Since the announcement, landowners have started to gather across the Hill Country to express their concerns about the project, including potential adverse impacts to surface and groundwater quality, decreased real estate and agricultural values, spread of oak wilt, and public safety risks.
Wimberley Valley Watershed Association (WVWA) has created website pages specific to the pipeline, where they are tracking planned community meetings and Kinder Morgan sponsored open houses, have a petition to get the pipeline routed away from the Hill Country, and video from a February town hall that took place in Wimberley.
Landowners that are being contacted by Kinder Morgan should know their rights, understand the condemnation process, and have access to resources to inform their decision-making. Knowing the cultural and natural resources that may be impacted by the proposed pipeline route can help landowners in their easement negotiations.
Lawyers experienced with the eminent domain process encourage impacted landowners to talk with their neighbors, share information, and negotiate together, rather than be isolated through this process.
Agencies that will review the proposed pipeline project include state entities (e.g. Texas Railroad Commission, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas General Land Office, Texas Historical Commission) and federal entities (e.g. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Army Corps of Engineers).
Informational Resources Available to Landowners
Although not exhaustive, we have included some key resources in the following section.
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Texas Pipeline Easement Negotiation Checklist
- Braun & Gresham’s Interactive Map of the Proposed Pipeline
- Attorney General of Texas Landowner Bill of Rights
Organizations Addressing this Pipeline Project
Multiple organizations are mobilizing to oppose or mitigate the impacts of the pipeline project. In Gillespie County, for example, a grassroots effort of concerned landowners, Save our Hill Country Heritage 1846, has organized to preserve the historical, cultural, and ecological heritage of the region. To learn more about this grassroots effort, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organizations that have been at the forefront of providing informational resources to Hill Country landowners include the following:
Bills to Follow Regarding Pipelines and Eminent Domain
TXSB553Engross Relating to the acquisition of certain real property in conjunction with the acquisition of real property for a public use through eminent domain procedures.
To House Land & Resource Management Committee
TXSB2276Intro Relating to the issuance of a permit by the Railroad Commission of Texas for the routing of certain oil or gas pipelines; establishing a fee.
To Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee
TXHB4001Intro Relating to the issuance of a permit by the Public Utility Commission of Texas for the routing of certain oil or gas pipelines; authorizing administrative penalties.
To House State Affairs Committee
TXHB3327Intro Relating to the acquisition of real property for a proposed oil and gas pipeline through eminent domain by a common carrier.
To House Land & Resource Management Committee
TXHB3480Intro Relating to the disclosure of the composition of fluids and materials transported by pipelines regulated by the Railroad Commission of Texas.
To House Energy Resources Committee
Recent Oil and Gas Pipeline News
In the many decades I have lived in Hays County, the reaction to the multiple threats we face involving our water, aquifers and natural resources is unprecedented. In the past…
Early on, Kinder Morgan faced opposition from individuals, local governments and conservation groups. EHN visited Hill Country—a unique landscape known for its rolling terrain in central Texas—and found that environmentalists…
After a pipeline drilling mishap in March that led to a spill of tens of thousands of gallons of slurry into an underground aquifer in Blanco County, muddying nearby wells,…
Three years ago the U.S. Department of Agriculture counted 80,000 head of cattle grazing the sea of golden grass across Brewster, Presidio, and Jeff Davis counties in dry, open and…
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